Top the Ten Reasons for Learning Damn Small Linux – Number 5, Linux, Apache, and Mysql

Linux and Windows share many characteristics. For example, most people have little interest in knowing how they work. These operating systems make the computer available for the applications that people want to apply; such as running an Internet server, browsing the Internet, creating and accessing data bases, writing programs, playing music, or, or, or. These tasks are coordinated by the operating system and require specialized programs that drive hardware efficiently and correctly. We’ll talk about Linux’s closely integrated “friends” and compare them to the similar but oh so different Microsoft offerings.

The Linux group is called LAMP, an acronym standing for Linux, Apache, MySql, and PHP. There is no similar Microsoft acronym for their set of interacting products. Could that be a symptom of their relatively low level of integration? In contrast Linux is closely integrated with the other LAMP components. In a sense these companions grew up together. Improvements to one component are easily transmitted to the others. These programs are all Open Source meaning that the actual code for all components is readily available. When a problem such as a security breach occurs (don’t let anybody tell you there are no security breaches in Linux and friends) people work on the problem and may post corrections rapidly. Now let’s look at the other LAMP components.

Apache is a highly regarded web server. It has been the most popular web server on the Internet since April, 1996. Believe me, if Microsoft with its virtually unlimited resources cannot dislodge Apache from the top of the pack this software must be doing a lot of things right. Of the four LAMP components Apache is the one that non-specialists are least likely to try to learn. But if you want to play with it, guess how much it costs. You can download a version which will run under Windows but it is unlikely to contain the full functionality. At the time of this writing the Windows version of Apache has some problems concerning its cryptographic functions. Apache is undergoing constant development; its new features, security enhancements, and bug fixes will be available first on the Open Source (LAMP) version. And then filter down to the Windows version.

MySQL is the most popular Open Source Database Management System. The MySQL Community Server is free. The more powerful MySQL Enterprise Server starts at $595 per server per year, a very reasonable price for a commercial product. Microsoft’s competitive database management system is Microsoft SQL Server. Licensing of this software is fairly complicated and believe me, costs a lot, lot more than does MySQL Enterprise Server. Microsoft often makes you pay for purchasing the server and client software and then pay annual server licenses and client licenses for system access.

MySQL runs on a wide range of hardware in conjunction with various operating systems. You can guess from its name that Microsoft SQL Server runs only under Windows. Both of these database management products are constantly upgraded and many technical features that once were available only on SQL Server now run on MySQL. In the past SQL Server clearly surpassed MySQL for enterprise-level systems, while itself often losing out to Oracle or other database management systems. Today’s reality is more complicated and MySQL Enterprise Server manages many huge database systems.

Talking about size, we didn’t finish discussing LAMP components in this article. PHP is the subject of the next one in this series.

Over the years Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet. He loves wine in moderation as exemplified by his wine websites such as He teaches various computer courses including Linux and Windows operating systems at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his new website which teaches you how to download and run Damn Small Linux even on that outdated Windows computer which you have been meaning to throw out.